Kim Jong Un Further Consolidates Power

A South Korean source has claimed that North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, is continuing on a campaign to clear out opposition in the North Korean Worker’s Party. According to an aide to a lawmaker in the South, Kim recently ordered the execution of at least 10 party members. Their alleged offenses ranged from skimming money from government projects to consuming foreign media and entertainment.

North Korea watchers say that the reclusive leader underwent a surgery to remove a cyst at some point during the last month or so. If true, this explains his long absence from foreign and domestic news reports in recent months. During his absence, analysts speculated why he retreated from public view for so long and why he was using a cane upon his return.

This most recent round of purges and executions comes in the wake of what seemed to be a power struggle with Kim’s uncle, from the news reports Igor commented on. His uncle, Jang Song Thaek, was eventually executed in 2013. Since that time, theories and speculations about the political situation among the top brass of North Korea have abounded.

As with anything else coming out of North Korea, it is unclear if these recent events reflect the strength or weakness of Kim’s regime. About a month ago, the North sent an envoy to the South for the Asian Games. Besides being present at the games themselves, the governments from the North and the South arranged one of the highest level meetings in years between the two. Whether future high level talks later in 2014 will happen or not remains to be seen.

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